Showing posts with label putin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label putin. Show all posts

Saturday, April 08, 2023

The Hammer Of Peaceful Activism

Putin, in his speeches, falls to the gender topic as a reflex action. I need to stay in power or they will come and turn your children into transvestites! I needed to go to war or they might have come and dressed your children into drag queen attires! Send 300,000 men to the front or they might come and turn men into women, and women into men! It is bizarre logic.

Alexei Navalny was safe. He did not have to go back to Russia. It was certain they would jail him and worse. But still he went. And he has indeed been subjected to jail and worse.

Zelensky fights for Navalny.

One man suffers so his country might not have to suffer indefinitely. Navalny chose to go. He was safe abroad.

But the thing about the moral fiber of someone like Alexei Navalny is it is a rope. It ties him to you, and it ties him to me. There is no escape route. You don't have the option to be quiet. You don't have the luxury of inaction. This is the spiritual reality. Just like your soul is a spiritual reality. It is true. It exists. It is indestructible. It is not the pancreas that a surgeon might dig out. But it is much more real. Your soul is more real than heaven and earth.

By choosing to go to jail and suffer Alexei Navalny communicates with the rest of us at the level that souls talk to each other. You can not look the other way. This man speaks for a nation.

Russians are not a different species. Or they might not have been able to produce the world class literature they have. Russians are long accustomed to the life of the mind. They are one of the best suited for this knowledge economy.

I am a friend of Russia. I want the best for Russia. I want a Russia that is richer, more secure, and yes, I want a Russia that is a power. Major powers like the United States and even China need other power centers. The global system needs a strong Russia to provide a counterbalance. How can there be freedom of thought and freedom of speech and freedom of conscience if truth can not be told to power? Be that to powerful America or to a powerful China?

The fight is inside Russia. The fight is in Moscow. All it will take is for one million Russians to take over the streets and not leave until Putin resigns.

I am not liking the war in Ukraine. I want peace. The path to peace is not this talk or that talk. The path to peace is a mass movement for democracy inside Russia that installs Navalny as the country's interim president who steers the country to elections to a constituent assembly. A democratic, federal Russia will make NATO irrelevant, keep Russia one, and shift the center of gravity in Europe to Kyiv.

Putin is a blight on the Russian conscience. Navalny is Russia's Mandela.

The Kremlin throws cold water on China mediating peace in Ukraine as Macron urges Xi to 'bring Russia to its senses' "So far there are no prospects for a political settlement," the Kremlin said. ....... The Kremlin on Thursday said there were "no prospects" for China to play the role of mediator in Moscow's unprovoked war against Ukraine at present, as French President Emmanuel Macron met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and urged him to "bring Russia to its senses." .......... Peskov said there were "no other ways" forward for Russia aside from continuing its offensive in Ukraine, signaling that Moscow has no interest in negotiations in the foreseeable future. ....... This came after Macron in Beijing said that Russia had dealt a blow to international stability by invading Ukraine, and called on Xi to push Russia to see reason and "bring everyone back to the negotiating table." ......... Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has invited Xi to visit Ukraine and repeatedly expressed a desire to speak with him. The two leaders have not spoken since Russia invaded over a year ago. ........ China has claimed that it's neutral in the Ukraine war and unveiled a peace plan in February on the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion. ........ The war in Ukraine has made Putin a global pariah and isolated Russia economically and politically, but the Russian leader on Wednesday insisted that his country remains a "respected center of world politics." .

China’s Ambassador to the E.U. Tries to Distance Beijing From Moscow The ambassador, Fu Cong, said China was not on Russia’s side in the war in Ukraine. “‘No limit’ is nothing but rhetoric,” he said, referring to a statement from last year about the countries’ relationship......... China tries to present itself as a mediator, insisting that it respects the territorial integrity of Ukraine while endorsing some of Moscow’s narrative about the war. ...... China had not provided military assistance to Russia, nor recognized its efforts to annex Ukrainian territories, including Crimea and the Donbas. ........... Beijing has not condemned the invasion, he said, because it understood Russia’s claims about a defensive war against NATO encroachment, and because his government believes “the root causes are more complicated” than Western leaders say. ......... In her speech, Ms. von der Leyen described the E.U.-China relationship as having become “more distant and more difficult,” and endorsed the view of China as an assertive global player seeking to become “the world’s most powerful nation.” ............. the bloc should “de-risk” its relationship with China by setting new ground rules rather than “decoupling” or withdrawing. ........... China was the third-largest destination of E.U. exported goods in 2022, and the largest exporter of goods to the bloc ......... He said Europe should carve out its own policies and develop more “strategic autonomy,” instead of following Washington’s lead. ......... the backdrop to Mr. Macron’s visit, as it was to the visit of Germany’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz, in November, with both accompanied by businessmen eager to continue to do deals with China. ...... “E.U. claims to be a big center, a power center in the world, an independent power center in the world, as much as the United States, as much as China,” Mr. Fu said. “So why does it have to listen to the United States all the time?” .

Brooke Shields and the Curse of Great Beauty “Pretty Baby,” a new documentary on Hulu, explores the toll that sexual and commercial objectification takes on women....... Ms. Shields was a generational touchstone of the 1970s and ’80s, an omnipresent vision — in magazines, television ads and films — of astonishing natural beauty. Luminous deep-blue eyes under those famous dark brows, delicate features, dimpled smile and a glossy brunette mane. By the time she was a preteen, her look had developed — or rather, been groomed into — an improbable blend of Renaissance angel and vamp. ....... We use beautiful young women’s sexuality to sell products (including films); we conflate the women with the products; we imagine women need to be ever newer, younger and shinier — like products. As a result, we grow inured to seeing barely pubescent girls presented as “things,” as erotic commodities. (Driving the point home, the film features an old television ad for toys made in Ms. Shields’s likeness, with the tagline “Brooke Shields: She’s a real living doll.”) ....... The film offers many examples of the exploitation and abuse (including one outright sexual assault) suffered by Ms. Shields ........ a loving but troubled (and alcoholic) single mother, Teri Shields, who also served as her manager, and Ms. Shields understood early that her career provided the family’s sole income. ........ Ms. Shields’s uncannily adult persona remained as impeccable and serene as her appearance. But there is a static quality to her in these clips, a blankness suggesting the practiced deflection of disturbing emotion, as if being treated constantly as an object had nearly turned her into one. ......... Recounting the director Franco Zeffirelli’s attempts to extract from her, 16 and a virgin, a scene of erotic “ecstasy” in the film “Endless Love,” Ms. Shields recalls: “I just dissociated.” (Off camera, to try to simulate passion, Mr. Zeffirelli repeatedly twisted Ms. Shields’s toe, causing her to cry out and contort her face in pain.) In such moments, she says she was “zooming out, seeing a situation but you are not connected to it. You instantly become a vapor of yourself.” ......... Eventually Ms. Shields overcame this vaporous existence, largely through the saving grace of a college education. Encouraged by her professors at Princeton to voice her own opinions, Ms. Shields says she “learned I could think for myself,” which “morphed into this big rebellion.” ........... She set boundaries with her controlling mother, discovered her untapped talents for comedy and dance (with which she could break free of those beautiful blank-slate roles) and, for the first time, found a boyfriend. .........

the story of the terrible toll that sexual and commercial objectification takes on women

....... When Ms. Shields’s image is on the screen, it’s almost impossible to look away. It’s that magnetism that everyone wants to bottle and sell. It’s what launched her career.

‘It Was Not Love at First Sight’ It took Samantha Weinstein and Philip Della Noce a few years to form a friendship, and another few more to become romantic......... “I got to Toronto, and the first person I called was Samantha,” Mr. Della Noce said. “We FaceTimed every single day.” .

U.S. Economy May Be Heading to a Place That Must Not Be Named A hard landing? A banana? Euphemisms for recession have a long history in Washington. Whatever the Fed is stating, it seems to be expecting something ugly, our columnist says. .

@dasha_navalnaya Пошли на аквадискотеку (?) #дашанавальная #навальный #navalny #dashanavalnaya #навальная #partygirl #parents ♬ how would they know bad girls club - Chris Gleason

Friday, April 07, 2023

7: Putin

Putin’s Second Front The War in Ukraine Has Become a Battle for the Russian Psyche .......... Conforming to the regime and showing support for the “special operation” have now become almost essential to good citizenship. ....... a significant stratum of society—teachers, for example—are forced to participate in public acts of support, such as the patriotic lessons that are now mandatory in schools on Mondays. ........ the infamous case of the teacher who denounced a 13-year-old girl for drawing an antiwar picture: the girl’s father was arrested, and she was placed in an orphanage ........ the Kremlin has been fighting a second war in Russia itself, and this war is unlikely to go away even if the conflict in Ukraine becomes frozen. ....... The regime understands that by creating an atmosphere of hatred and mutual distrust, it can make part of society itself more intolerant of those who oppose Putin and the war. Whereas former Soviet heroes were people like Yuri Gagarin, who was the first to conquer space, now the examples of “heroic” behavior are by members of separatist formations or pro-war bloggers with a criminal past—such as the recently murdered blogger with the pseudonym Vladlen Tatarsky. The war has vaulted these people to the top and turned them into “heroes.” ........... Over the past decade, as his hyperauthoritarian model of government matured, Putin was able to awaken in the Russian public a demand for imperial greatness that had long lain dormant. ........ a qualitative leap in public sentiment came with Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. “That's it. We have become great again!” many thought. ......... An increasingly arbitrary justice system now hands down hefty prison sentences to dissenters, and a public culture of extrajudicial violence is being normalized by Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Wagner, the paramilitary contractor with close ties to the Kremlin. .......... the regime has proved adept at exporting goods to the east and importing contraband through, for instance, Turkey or some Central Asian countries. .......... Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin ...... when Russians are asked which politician they trust the most, Mishustin is now named more often than Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and is second only to Putin. ............. Sure, everyone understands that victory is the goal. But that goal has been pushed so far into the future that it has become as symbolic and distant as the final stage of communism was for several generations of Soviet people. ........ many feel the compulsion to stay in the social mainstream and go with the flow: this is what twentieth-century psychoanalyst Erich Fromm, writing about the social conditions that contributed to fascism, famously called “escape from freedom.” No one wants to be branded an outcast or enemy of the people. .... the ability of ordinary people to accept radically changed circumstances—as long as some elements of normal life can be maintained ........ ordinary Russians continue to show declining interest in events in Ukraine ........... 47 percent admitting that they were paying little or no attention to the war. .......... The Kremlin has conjured a pantheon of true defenders of the motherland, in which the medieval prince Alexander Nevsky, the sixteenth-century despot Ivan the Terrible, and Joseph Stalin sit side by side with the tenth-century Prince Vladimir, the seventeenth-century tsar Peter the Great, and Vladimir Putin. ..........

another path: inner emigration—opting out of the political process—is still an option for many people, as is actual exile.

.......... There appears to be no end to that status either—at least not before the end of Putinism. ........... He has mobilized a lot of people to support the war—in both the social and the military sense. No wonder he considers himself omnipotent. ........... Putin has managed to concentrate enormous power in his hands. But the more power he accumulates, the harder it will be for him to relax and hand over the reins. He cannot afford to liberalize the system or decrease his dictatorial authority. There is only one way left open to him: to cling to power until the bitter end. Putin is in the same position in which Stalin found himself at the start of the 1950s. It was in those late years that the Soviet dictator had to resort to absurd and irrational measures to shore up his power, from paranoid threats to his own closest companions to combating “rootless cosmopolitans” and supporting obscurantist theories in science. For this reason, Putin needs a permanent war with those he deems “foreign agents” and national enemies—his own “rootless cosmopolitans.” It is a war that has to be carried out at home and abroad, whether hot or cold, direct or hybrid. And Putin has to keep moving all the time: stopping is a luxury he cannot afford. ............... when a train has no brakes, it may crash into a wall. It might also simply run out of fuel and grind to a halt. For now, it is full steam ahead—to nowhere, because no one knows where it is going. That includes the driver.

Wednesday, April 05, 2023

5: Putin

Woke the plank! Were pirate ships actually beacons of diversity and democracy? In September 1695, the Plymouth-born “king of pirates”, Henry Avery, seized treasure worth £600,000 (in today’s terms, nearly £100m) from the Grand Mughal fleet in the Red Sea. ........ Avery sailed for Madagascar where he established a pirate republic with his henchmen called Libertalia, a proto-communist utopia where all goods were held common. ........ the so-called golden age of piracy between 1650 and 1730 in the Atlantic and Indian oceans. ........ 1881, when Robert Louis Stevenson wrote the first half of Treasure Island. ....... there is a chasm deeper than the Mariana Trench between piratical reality and fiction. ........ Somali pirates plying the same waters as Avery did centuries earlier ........ “Pirates existed in the shadows, in the margins of society – overthrowing societal conventions and creating their own counterculture.” ......... “The toothless or peg-legged buccaneer hoisting a flag of defiance against the world … is, perhaps, as much a figure of the Enlightenment as Adam Smith or Voltaire, but he also represents a profoundly proletarian liberation, necessarily violent and ephemeral.” ......... pirates lasted on average two years at their illegal trade before being hanged, drowned or sensibly retiring. ........ “It wasn’t as hierarchical as the Royal Navy,” says Slade. “Captains were elected. And they lived according to a code.” The exhibition sets out the code that prevailed on Black Bart’s ship. According to article one: “Every man has a vote in affairs of moment; has equal title to the fresh provisions, or strong liquors, at any time seized, and may use them at pleasure.” ......... Stevenson, whose Treasure Island created many of the enduring emblems of the pirate genre: the one-legged rogue, the cabin boy hiding in an apple barrel, the map to the buried treasure marked by an X ......... The golden age of piracy came to a bloody end in the 1730s as governments decided pirates were too much of a liability to trade and stamped them out.

Russian defector sheds light on Putin paranoia and his secret train network Former security officer tells of president’s strict quarantine and says he has ‘lost touch with the world’ .......... a secret train network, identical offices in different cities, a strict personal quarantine and escalating security protocols. ............ “pathologically afraid for his life” ....... the train was used because it “cannot be tracked on any information resource .......... a secret railway network including parallel lines and stations near Putin’s residences in the Valdai national park in Novo-Ogaryovo, and near his Bocharov Ruchei residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. ........ “Our president has lost touch with the world,” he said. “He has been living in an information cocoon for the past couple of years, spending most of his time in his residences, which the media very fittingly call bunkers. He is pathologically afraid for his life. He surrounds himself with an impenetrable barrier of quarantines and an information vacuum. He only values his own life and the lives of his family and friends.” ......... a virtual state within a state that includes firefighters, food testers and other engineers who travel with Putin on his trips abroad, providing a rare first-hand insight into the levels of paranoia and sheltered lifestyle of the Russian president. “They call him the Boss, worship him in every way and only ever talk of him in those terms” ......... Putin relies heavily for information on reports provided by his security services. Putin did not use a mobile phone or the internet .......... and did not even bring an internet specialist with him on foreign trips. “He only receives information from his closest circle, which means that he lives in an information vacuum” ......... Putin is still in quarantine and requires all staff working in the same room as him to also undergo a two-week quarantine, severely limiting the number of people who have personal contact with him. ............ Putin used identical offices in St Petersburg, Sochi and Novo-Ogaryovo, and that the secret services used fake motorcades and decoy planes to pretend he was leaving. “This is a ruse to confuse foreign intelligence, in the first place, and secondly, to prevent any attempts on his life” ........... “He has shut himself off from the world,” Karakulov said. “His take on reality has become distorted.” .......... until nearly the end of the trip, when Karakulov told his fellow officers he was feeling unwell and then fled with his family to the airport

No phone, no internet, no power, no money – it was like being sent back to the Victorian era After five unplugged hours, my dog and the house were pristine. I needed distraction

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

21: Putin

21: Putin, Biden

Two Supreme Court cases this week could upend the entire internet An expansion of apps and websites’ legal risk for hosting or promoting content could lead to major changes at sites, including Facebook, Wikipedia and YouTube, to name a few....... Many Republican officials allege that Section 230 gives social media platforms a license to censor conservative viewpoints. Prominent Democrats, including President Joe Biden, have argued Section 230 prevents tech giants from being held accountable for spreading misinformation and hate speech. ........ Rulings in the cases are expected by the end of June. ........ The case involving Google zeroes in on whether it can be sued because of its subsidiary YouTube’s algorithmic promotion of terrorist videos on its platform. ........ Google and other tech companies have said that that interpretation of Section 230 would increase the legal risks associated with ranking, sorting and curating online content, a basic feature of the modern internet. Google has claimed that in such a scenario, websites would seek to play it safe by either removing far more content than is necessary, or by giving up on content moderation altogether and allowing even more harmful material on their platforms. ......... Friend-of-the-court filings by Craigslist, Microsoft, Yelp and others have suggested that the stakes are not limited to algorithms and could also end up affecting virtually anything on the web that might be construed as making a recommendation. That might mean even average internet users who volunteer as moderators on various sites could face legal risks, according to a filing by Reddit and several volunteer Reddit moderators. Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden and former California Republican Rep. Chris Cox, the original co-authors of Section 230, argued to the Court that Congress’ intent in passing the law was to give websites broad discretion to moderate content as they saw fit. .......... In recent years, however, several Supreme Court justices have shown an active interest in Section 230, and have appeared to invite opportunities to hear cases related to the law. Last year, Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch wrote that new state laws, such as Texas’s that would force social media platforms to host content they would rather remove, raise questions of “great importance” about “the power of dominant social media corporations to shape public discussion of the important issues of the day.”

The housing market correction just took a new turn Brutal. That’s the best way to describe KB Home’s fourth quarter, which saw its buyer cancellation rate spike to 68%. That figure dwarfed the publicly traded homebuilder’s 13% cancellation rate from the previous year’s period. It also surpassed the industry’s peak cancellation rate of 47% during the darkest days of the 2008-era crash.

‘Treason!’ Wagner boss slams Russia’s military leaders They want to ‘destroy’ Wagner, says Yevgeny Prigozhin about Russia’s defense minister and army chief........ Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the private Wagner Group, has claimed that the Russian defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, and the chief of the general staff, Valery Gerasimov, are trying to “destroy” Wagner — marking an escalation in hostilities between the influential paramilitary boss and Russia’s military establishment. ......... Prigozhin’s remarks are another sign of infighting in the Russian military. Ultranationalist figures such as Prigozhin and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov have long pushed for a restructuring of the top echelons of the military command. ....... The Wagner boss has been continuously increasing power in the shrinking inner circle of Russian President Vladimir Putin

How Vladimir Putin sells his war against ‘the West’ Unable to explain setbacks in Ukraine, the Kremlin appeals to past victories. ....... “It’s unbelievable but true: we are again being threatened by German Leopard tanks,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin, who traveled to Volgograd to deliver a speech on February 2. “Again and again, we have to repel the aggression of the collective West.” ........ Putin’s statement was full of factual inaccuracies: Russia is fighting not the West but Ukraine, because it invaded the country; the German Leopards being delivered to Kyiv date back only to the 1960s; there’s no plan for them to enter Russian territory. ......... But the Russian president’s evocation of former victories was telling — it was a distillation of his approach to justifying an invasion that hasn’t gone to plan. These days in Russia, if the present is hard to explain, appeal to the past. ........... “The language of history has replaced the language of politics,” said Ivan Kurilla, a historian at the European University at St. Petersburg. “It is used to explain what is happening in a simple way that Russians understand.” ........ Putin has long harkened back to World War II — known in the country as The Great Patriotic War, in which more than 20 million Soviet citizens are estimated to have died. ............. On the streets, however, Russians seemed confused. ........ The term “special military operation” at least was somewhat clearer. It suggested a speedy, professional, targeted offensive. ...... As the special military operation turned into a protracted conflict, and the facts on the ground refused to bend to Putin’s narrative, the Kremlin has gradually been forced to change its story. ......... by spring the terms “demilitarization” and “denazification” had practically disappeared from the public sphere .......... In October, Putin declared that one of the main goals of the war had been to provide Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, with a stable water supply. .........

But the appeal to history has remained central to Putin’s communication effort.

......... In June, he referenced Peter the Great’s campaign to “return what was Russia’s.” And during an October ceremony to lay claim to four regions in Ukraine, it was Catherine the Great who got a mention. ......... “Especially in spring and early summer, there was an attempt to Sovietize the war, with people waving red flags, trying to make sense of it through that lens.” ........ Throughout, the Kremlin has sought to depict the conflict as a battle against powerful Western interests bent on using Ukraine to undermine Russia — a narrative that has become increasingly important as the Kremlin demands bigger sacrifices from the Russian population ......... “What we observe today is the culmination of that feeling of resentment, of unrealized illusions, especially among those over 50” ......... “We are moving away from a special military operation towards a holy war … against 50 countries united by Satanism,” the veteran propagandist Vladimir Solovyov said on his program in January. .............. Russians are now expecting the war to last another six months or longer. “The majority keep to the sidelines, and passively support the war, as long as it doesn’t affect them directly” ........... reports of Western weapons deliveries have been used to reinforce the argument that Russia is battling the West under the umbrella of NATO — no longer in an ideological sense, but in a literal one. ........... “What started out as a historic metaphor is being fueled by actual spilled blood.” .......... In newspaper stands, Russians will find magazines such as “The Historian,” full of detailed spreads arguing that the Soviet Union’s Western allies in World War II were, in fact, Nazi sympathizers all along — another recycled trope from Russian history. ......... “This level of hatred and aggressive nationalism has not been seen since the late Stalin period”

Zelenskyy: Macron is ‘wasting his time’ with Putin ‘It’s a useless dialogue,’ Ukraine’s president says. ........ Macron added that although he wished for the Kremlin to lose, the war would end not on the battlefield but with peace talks — and that France would “never” support “crushing Russia.” ........ “He likes vodka? If that’s the case, we have some of the finest quality in Ukraine — we can offer him some,” Zelenskyy said. ........ The Ukrainian president also commented on recent reports from the U.S. that China was ready to send weapons to Russia, saying he hoped Beijing would keep a “pragmatic approach,” to avoid a “Third World War.”

Biden’s Military-First Posture in the East Is a Problem A singular focus on countering the threat of Chinese aggression made America neglect economic ties in the Indo-Pacific. ........ Changi Naval Base, which sits on the east coast of Singapore near the busy shipping lanes of the Singapore Strait, has in the first months of 2023 been welcoming well-armed American visitors. Less than two weeks into the new year came a visit from the USS Makin Island, an amphibious assault ship. Days later, the USS Nimitz, an aircraft carrier with a small city’s worth of crew members, made a port call—accompanied by three destroyers. ........ U.S. troops have access to five military bases in the Philippines, which is a former U.S. colony and America’s oldest treaty ally in Asia. Earlier this month, the two countries reached an agreement that gives U.S. forces access to four more. That announcement followed a decision by American and Japanese officials to enhance their military cooperation. ........

The aim—sometimes spoken, other times left unsaid—of such developments is to counter China’s more assertive presence in the region.

Washington now views Beijing as a growing threat to America and its partners and allies there. These concerns have only intensified since a spy balloon launched by China was shot down two weeks ago. Hence the Biden administration’s focus on defense and security in the Indo-Pacific.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

14: Ukraine

प्रधानमन्त्री मोदीले गरे अडानीसँगको सम्बन्धको बचाउ